Five Things Pastors Can Do to Avoid Burnout

1. Honor Thy Body
Stayng fit through regular exercise and a healthy diet is smart for anyone, but especially for pastors who can wind up spending much of their time in sedentary, mentally intensive work. St. Bendict was no fool: His rule mandates that part of each monk’s day be given over to manual labor, and that’s still a good idea for clergy.

2. Thou Shalt Take a Break
Even God rested on the seventh day. Clergy should do at least that and might try to take one weekend off per month. Regular vacations are a must, but an extended saatical every few years is an even better idea.

3. Thou Shalt Be a Team Player

The “Messiah complex” is one of the biggest pitfalls. Even clergy who are the most humble of servants can wind up convinced they must inject their holiness into every single meeting and event. You are not as necessary as you think you are. Trust others, and deligate. You can’t fix everything.

4. Thou Shalt Get a Life
Developing a social circle outside of the congregation is critical. Clergy tend to root their lives in the congregation, ut that can leave them stranded when they need to lean on someone. Finding support groups, other clergy friends, and even clergy in other denominations are popular options.

5. Thou Shalt Not Delay
When the going gets tough, the smart ones get help. Clergy often have a visceral distaste for psychotherapy – for themselves, not necessarily for others – but religion and psychiatry have found enough common ground in recent years that clergy can get on the couch without checking their faith at the door.

. . . And five things congregants can do to help

6. Honor Thy Father
Pastors can be parents, too. Allow time to be with their families. Recognize that more families have two working parents, and that means clerlgy families, too. The old-time “pastor’s wive” – or husband – may not be around to serve tea and pick up the slack.

7. Thou Shalt Not Play Politics
It’s amazing how nasty “religious” folk can be toward their own pastor. Congregations can be breeding grounds for cliques, at least one of which usually targets the spiritual leader. Don’t pile on, and do what you can to discourage such behavior.

8. Thou Shalt Give Thanks
It’s also amazing how few worshippers even bother to say “Thanks” to the pastor. Everyone has a complaint about something – the music wasn’t good, he flowers weren’t right, and most of all, things were always better in the old days. The past is past. This is today. Find something nice to say.

9. Honor His/Her Time Off
Better yet, start an effort to make sure the pastor takes a vacation or schedules a sabbatical. There are a growing number of programs that provide grants to help congregations hire a temporary fill-in. Or why not a fund-raisser to send the pastor (and spouse?) on a lenghty pilgrimage of study and relaxation?

10. Thou Shalt Pray
This goes for both congregants and their clergy. Remember, a central function of religion is to nurture the soul, and congregants who make an effort to live up to the tenets of their faith will probably make their pastors happier. And clergy who lose sight of their vocation and their spiritual center are courting trouble.

(From Unknown Source)

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For His Dining Pleasure

What is the job description of a ‘waiter or waitress’?  The federal government gives the following definition:  “A waiter is responsible for coordinating the entire station and communicating with front- and back-of-the-house personnel to provide a dining experience that meets or exceeds guest expectations. He will process guest orders to ensure that all items are prepared properly and on a timely basis. He may carve meats, de-bone fish and fowl, prepare flaming dishes and desserts at tableside and present, open, and pour wine when serving guests. He observes diners to ensure that guests are satisfied with the food and service, and he responds to additional requests and determines when the meal has been completed. He totals bills and accepts payment or refers guests to cashier. He may assist bus person with stocking, removing, and resetting dishes and silverware between courses and cleaning and resetting vacated tables.” says, “A waiter should be able to handle any task of a waiter’s complex and demanding job. A waiter should be experienced in seating, greeting, cocktail preparation and service, wine serving and sales.  If he knows something about accounting, the better for him. A waiter has to be able to explain the menu!  He has to be able to write fast and legible. He has to know how to serve any and all the guests’ orders! A good waiter is expected to handle himself in any situation, never to get angry with a guest and never to start a fight with coworkers. A waiter should be well groomed and able to stand long hours on his feet.”

It is a matter of choice for any waiter to be:

  • a) just an order taker and plate carrier or
  • b) a professional waiter well respected by the customers.

The customer, the patron, the guest – whatever you call him - is always right.

God is the diner…God is the guest…God is the patron…God is the customer…and, of course, He is always right. 

God dines on the fellowship of His children. This is His favorite meal.  God devours this fellowship and intimacy with His children.

You and I are the ‘wait-ers or wait-resses’.

It is our job to satisfy the needs and desires of our one client for the day or evening.  We are to turn down every other table for we have one diner, one guest.  It is God.  How rude to leave our one table and go serve another!  For now, we have one table.  Later, you can wait on the ‘table of work’, and the ‘table of sports’, and the ‘table of finances’.  But for right now…just one table…God’s table.  You and I are His ‘wait-er’ and we are to ‘wait’ on Him.

I can decide to do the bare minimum and just take God’s order and carry His plate.  Or – I can decide that I am going to make this the greatest dining experience that I can offer!  No need, no desire will go unmet!  I will anticipate His every desire and be ready to respond at one simple glance of His eye!  I will ‘serve’ Him glory and honor and praise.  I will delight in my work, my path in life,  and my responsibility as inner joy shows forth.  I have no way of knowing how long this dining experience will last.  I really don’t care; I am just enjoying the process.

At some point in time, if I have done my job correctly, my Guest will turn and give me a look of satisfaction that says, “Well done!”  The dining experience is over for now. In the process, I have learned areas that I can improve.  In fact, I can’t wait for the next dining experience with my one Guest…God Himself!

By the way…there is a perk to the job!

The prophet Isaiah gives us a great word in Isaiah 64:4, “…God works…God acts…God moves…on the behalf of those who ‘wait’ for him!” 


Have a great week ‘wait-ing’ on your one Guest’s table!

Billy and Sheilah Daws

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